: Spinach for Weight Loss
The health benefits of spinach abound—it’s an excellent source of vitamins K, A, C, E, and B6 and the minerals manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, and copper; it contains more than a dozen different flavonoid compounds that function as anti-inflammatory and anticancer agents; and it’s associated with a decreased risk of several blood-vessel related conditions (such as atherosclerosis and high blood pressure). Swedish researchers report that a natural compound in spinach may be linked to weight loss.
Charlotte Erlanson-Albertsson at Lund University in Sweden reports that thylakoid, a compound found in spinach and other leafy greens, slows food digestion, giving the feeling of fullness. She and her co-investigators found that if human participants were given a shot of spinach extract in the morning, they felt less hungry during the day. Individuals given spinach also found it easier to stick to three meals a day, compared to the control group.
The group that received the thylakoid-containing spinach also had more stable blood glucose levels and higher levels of satiety hormones in their blood.
This compound functions differently than processed foods, which tend to be digested only in the upper intestine. This prevents key hormones that make us feel full from being released into the brain.
Erlanson-Albertsson emphasizes that the compound’s effect didn’t come from just one ingredient. “It contains hundreds of substances—galactolipids, proteins, vitamin A, E, K, antioxidants, beta-carotene, lutein, and so on.”
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